Sporting and portimonense
Sporting's Francisco Trincão in action against Portimonense’s Moustapha Seck (left) and Paulo Estrela (second left) during the Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon on September 10 Photo: MIGUEL A. LOPES/LUSA

Portimonense: outclassed


Portimonense were unable to recover from an early setback and were subsequently outplayed and comprehensively beaten in Lisbon last Saturday evening.

A seventh-minute corner put the Algarveans’ defence under extreme pressure and, following several half-clearances, Trincão had the ball in the back of the net assisted by a Pedrão deflection for the opener. Keeper Kosuke then did well to keep out Rochinha before Trincão doubled his and Sporting’s tally just before the interval.

The match continued much in the same vein following the restart, Coates heading over and Pedrão clearing off the line to prevent a Trincão hat-trick. Another attempted block from the luckless defender in the 73rd minute then only served to guide a Pedro “Pote” Gonçalves header past the stranded Kosuke to make it 3-0. Nuno Santos added a fourth not long after, concluding the scoring.

Portimonense, still in joint fourth place on 12 points with Boavista, will be hoping to return to winning ways at home on Friday night when 10th-placed Chaves visit the Municipal Stadium.

Further afield, former striker Beto showed manager Paulo Sérgio exactly what he is missing when scoring a brace as a second-half substitute during Udinese’s 3-1 win over Sassuolo, a success which sees the Italian minnows sit just one point behind the Serie A leaders.

In other news, the strange case of Shoya Nakajima has finally come to an end. A star for Portimonense after his arrival five years ago, the Japanese winger was then sold for a reported €35 million to Qatari side Al-Duhail in February 2019. Following seven appearances on the Arab peninsula, Porto paid €12 million for 50% of the player’s rights on a five-year contract, although hardly ever including him in their first team subsequently.

In January 2021, Nakajima left on loan for the UAE and, on his return, re-joined Portimonense on another season-long temporary arrangement.

Negotiations to extend that term for 2022/23 have since failed and the by now 28-year-old found himself in limbo back in Porto. Unloved and unwanted, the nightmare has now ended as Nakajima was allowed to leave for Antalyaspor in Turkey on a free transfer.